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Camille Mihalchik

English 102
Professor Padgett
April 3, 2016
Standardized Tests and Exit Exams: The Potential Effects

Throughout the country, students in public schools are being required to take
standardized tests or exit exams. These tests are required by all students, even English language
learners, the students with learning disabilities, and those that are slower readers. Although some
students that require extra help are given test accommodations, such as extended time, many
argue that the process of standardized testing as a whole is not a good thing and debate the
important and universal question, which is, are standardized tests hurting all of students, most
specifically the students with learning disabilities? According to Catherine Schifer and Martha
Carey, these tests can be viewed as one-size-fits all assessments, which they attempt to prove
is not right and a disadvantage to multiple groups of students (Schifter, Carey 1). Standardized
testing can have negative effects on all students of varying capacities and even more so on those
with learning disabilities; and therefore, a new protocol or technological testing device should be
implemented to insure fairness and equality for all students.
In public schools across America, education officials have created new ways to measure
the progress and education of the students, such as standardized testing or exit exams, while the
teachers are the ones in the school implementing these new tests. Although these teachers are the
ones implementing the tests in the school systems, many view these tests as negative for the
students and controversial. In the article How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love
Standardized Testing Tim Moxey, a teacher, describes how he has adapted to the standardized

testing in Pennsylvania and how he has grown to love these tests, as it makes his job as a teacher
much easier. Although this piece serves as an opposition to the idea that standardized testing is a
bad thing, this article shows that in some cases, the wellbeing of students is not a top priority.
Tim Moxey talks about how teachers with views opposing his feel about standardized testing,
and states, Standardized testing, they say, takes away from individualized instruction. It does
not allow for creativity. It does not measure true progress or advance critical thinking. It does not
result in improved teaching; it results in teaching to the test. It does not motivate; it demoralizes.
It limits; it does not include. It is not about education; it is about politics (Moxey). The quote
made by Moxey is very significant because he is showing the different viewpoints of other
teachers. Not including selfish teachers like Moxey, many teachers and educational experts are
concerned for what and how standardized testing is effecting all students, and limiting their
Standardized testing has been a controversial topic and has been said to be ineffective
when advancing all students learning, most specifically those who have learning disabilities, are
colored, are English language learners, and those who are below their reading level. In an article
called High-stakes Testing Hasnt Brought Educational Gains, a significant question was posed
by the authors, one that is universal when discussing all students. This question by the authors
stated, . . . why defend a policy that has proven generally ineffective in advancing the education
interests of children of color and disadvantage children? (Dianis, Jackson, Noguera 1). The
overall idea presented here is that education officials are defending a policy, similarly to Tim
Moxey, which is hindering the education of children who should require extra help. Likewise,
the authors of Exit Exams, High-stakes Testing and Students with Disabilities: A Persistent
Challenge provide evidence that shows how all disabled children are required to participate in

exit exams for a diploma. This article presents a different means of standardized testing, which
can be seen as more serious. These authors argue that, Accountability can be seen at the high
school level in the use of exit examinations (hereafter exit exams) that students must pass to
receive a diploma and graduate from high school (Yell, Katsiyannis, Collins, Losinski 1).
Unlike standardized testing, there are even stricter rules and more serious outcomes for these
tests, such as not being able to graduate from high school. With this, many learning disabled
students continue to be required to take these tests, which can be very tough for some. The
authors of this article state, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; 1990)
requires that students with disabilities participate in state and district-wide assessments, with
appropriate accommodations and modifications when needed (Yell, Katsiyannis, Collins,
Losinski 2). Although these students are being allowed accommodations as deemed fit, these
students are still having to take significantly hard tests, which according to High-stakes Testing
and Students with Disabilities has historically resulted in poor performance by disabled
students. The authors of this article comment upon the historically bad results and state, The
historically poor performance of students with learning disabilities on these assessments has
raised concern over minimum standards, permissible test modifications, and alternate
assessments (Katsiyannis, Zhange, Ryan, Jones 1). The high percentage of students who failed
is calling the modifications into question because of the fact that the modifications still do not
ensure that these students are able to pass and graduate from high school. The statistics shows
that something needs to change, ensuring fairness and allowing disabled students or those who
need accommodations the opportunity to graduate not even from college, but from high school.
Although these children with learning disabilities are given some sort of standard of
accommodations or help on high-stakes testing, these tests can also be seen as negative towards

the students mentality. Like mentioned previously, many students still do not pass these exit
exams, even after they are provided modifications and accommodations; therefore, some are still
not able to graduate from high school given the requirements. According to the authors of one
On the negative side, students with disabilities are particularly vulnerable given the
consequences of failing such exams. Negative consequences in high-stakes testing
include (a) the challenge of students with disabilities to achieve proficient levels, (b)
students with disabilities who fail make schools look less effective, and (c) students are
stressed by taking tests and by not accessing or reaching state standards. (Katsiyannis,
Zhange, Ryan, Jones 6)
Through these results, the tests are able to have significant impacts on the outside view of the
school district, as well as effecting the mentality and personal confidence for students who may
already not have that much to offer.
Although exit exams and standardized tests are difficult for students such as the disabled,
teachers who are not able to eliminate these students from taking these tests entirely are able to
give the students test accommodations. There is much controversy over this type of help and for
some schools, accommodations can at least help the students while the school attempts to
eliminate these tests completely. Benjamin J. Lovett, the author of Extended Time Testing
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Answers to Five Fundamental Questions
explains how extended time for the student is one of the most common modes of
accommodations. Lovett states, Accommodations are also viewed as a tool for ensuring the fair
treatment of students with special needs Extended time accommodations are meant to reduce
this construct-irrelevant variance by keeping construct-irrelevant skills such as reading speed

from being prerequisites for accessing the test content (Lovett 3). Lovett explains that by using
this common form of extended time, students are able to complete their standardized tests easier
with the certain amount of time extended. This allows them to perform better because they are
not pressured by as strict time constraints, unlike the other students. The authors of Test
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: An Analysis for the Interaction Hypothesis
have similar view points as Lovett and expand upon his work. Similarly to Lovett, the authors of
this article state, Such practices are designed to level the playing field so that the format of the
test or the test administration conditions do not unduly prevent some students from
demonstrating their true knowledge, skills, and abilities (Sireci, Scarpati, Li 2). The similarity
proves that although standardized testing is a negative thing that should be eliminated or
replaced, schools are making it more even for the students who struggle, such as those who are
disabled or accommodated. According to these authors, this is promoting equity in assessment
(Sireci, Scarpati, Li 2). These tests accommodations are vital for ensuring the equality between
all students and allowing them the same opportunity to pass.
Test accommodations and modifications can be seen as a benefit to certain individuals;
however, to other individuals, this mode of help is extremely controversial and is hindering other
students. Although Lovett explains the advantages of test accommodations, he also discusses the
controversies stating, . . . certain critics have charged that extended time is deliberately sought
and obtained by high-ability affluent students after receiving dubious disability diagnoses, and
that they accommodation leads to an unfair advantage over these students classmates as well
as, . . . extended time accommodations may be given too readily, without fully considering the
effects of the extra time on how the resulting test scores should be interpreted (Lovett 4). These
test accommodations serve as potential timely fixes; however, they pose many problems and are

seen equally as negative for those who are against accommodations and want equality
throughout the students. With similar ideas, if everyone would benefit from the
accommodation, then the scores from unaccommodated exams may be invalidly inflated, which
would be unfair to students who do not receive accommodations (Sireci, Scarpati, Li 3). These
controversial ideas prove the presence of a significant problem for the equality of all students
and the outcomes that are being reported mainly to the state. Together, these articles are able to
argue against the benefits of accommodations and strengthen the idea that standardized testing
should not be implemented and a new way should be created in order to correctly assess all
students of varying knowledge and skill levels.
Many people have provided ideas and recommendations for those and schools when
preparing their kids for standardized tests. For many, this problem is significant in their lives and
some have even gone to court to resolve these issues. Litigation is a significant help in proving
the action that is being taken in select states. In the case of Brookheart v. Board of Education
(1983), the decision was made that the students with disabilities will be held to the same standard
as the other children; however, the parents and students do need a more advanced notice along
with additional opportunities to prepare (Katsiyannis, Zhange, Ryan, Jones 4). Similar to this
case, there was the Alexander v. Noon case in which, In noon it was projected that 500 students
in the class of 2004 would have been denied a diploma because they did not have an adequate
opportunity to pass the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (HSGQE) (Yell, Katsiyannis,
Collins, Losinski 63). The Alexander v. Noon case ended in the state of Alaska expanding the
accommodations which would be available for these students. It also allowed a portfolio
assessment for those students with serious disabilities. Through litigations such as these, it is
proven that these issues effect a significant amount of people throughout our country and that

these select boards are passing extensive accommodations, while other experts have proven that
such accommodations have negative effects to all students.
Because many state that accommodations are helping students while others argue that
they are hurting all students, it is clear that there is no answer or happy medium here. While one
way helps one group of students, it is hurting an even larger group of students, but less
significantly. I argue that a new way needs to be created to insure equality for all students, not
only helping the students with learning disabilities, but ensuring that the rest of these students are
helped as best as they can be, without inflating the scores. Similar to my ideas, the authors and
experts, Catherine Schifter and Martha Carey have created a proposal called SAVE Science.
According to the authors, SAVE Science is a virtual game environment, which . . . is designed
to enable student at varying skill levels and language abilities to perform a series of problemsolving tasks in a virtual world. . . (Schifter, Carey 2). Such potential new ways for assessing
students may have the ability to create equality in the school systems and would ensure no
variation. Similarly, the authors of Test Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: An
Analysis for the Interaction Hypothesis state, Technological innovations in assessment have
tremendous potential to improve the accessibility of tests for students with disabilities (Sireci,
Scarpati, Li 30). According to these experts, technological advances have the opportunity to help
students with learning disabilities; and therefore, it is important to understand the temporary
accommodations, such as extended time, their limitations, and through researchers like
discussed, the potential ability to create new, technological advances, which could eliminate the
controversies between teachers and experts, and provide equality in tests.

Works Cited
Dianis, Judith Brown, John H. Jackson, and Pedro Noguera. High-stakes Testing Hasnt Brought
Educational Gains. Phi Delta Kappan, September 2015. Web. 2 April 2016.
Katsiyannis, Antonis, Dalun Zhange, Joseph B. Ryan, and Julie Jones. High-Stakes Testing and
Students With Disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 1 December 2007. Web.
2 April 2016.
Lovett, Benjamin J. Extended Time Testing Accommodations for Students With Disabilities:
Answers to Five Fundamental Questions. American Education Research Association,
December 2010. Web. 2 April 2016.
Moxey, Tim. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Standardized Testing. English
Journal, March 2005. Web. 2 April 2016.
Schifter, Catherine, and Martha Carey. Addressing Standardized Testing Through A Novel
Assessment. International Association for Development of the Information Society,
October 2014. Web. 2 April 2016.
Sireci, Stephen G., Stanley E. Scarpati, and Shuhong Li. Test Accommodations for Students
with Disabilities: An Analysis for the Interaction Hypothesis. American Educational
Research Association, Winter 2005. Web. 23 February 2016.
Yell, Mitchell L., Antonis Katsiyannis, James C. Collins, and Mickey Losinski. Exit Exams,
High-Stakes Testing and Students with Disabilities: A Persistent Challenge. Hammill
Institute on Disabilities, September 2012. Web. 27 February